This week, Verizon Wireless set its sights on the growing population of “cord cutters” and “cord nevers” with the trial debut of its ad-supported, over-the-top (OTT) video streaming service, known as “Go90,” which will be provided as a free app to mobile phone customers. Named for the practice of rotating a smart phone to permit mobile video viewing in landscape format, Go90 will be marketed to the 70% of young adults in the 18-34 age bracket who rely primarily upon their wireless devices for video consumption. Unlike similar competitive offerings that include DISH Network’s Sling TV and HBO Now, Go90 will be offered free of charge and exclusively to mobile handset and tablet users who will not have to subscribe to Verizon to obtain service. Instead of offering all of the video content provided by a particular TV channel or network, Go90 will stream specific programs, such as Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and popular shows from ESPN, Discovery and other networks, for which Verizon has negotiated individual carriage rights and which are believed to be most popular with the targeted users. These shows will be offered alongside news clips, live concerts, sporting events, and online TV series from Awesomeness TV, Vice Media, Tastemade, Maker Studios and Machinima.
Executives at Verizon noted that Go90 users will be able to set up profiles for customized viewing and observed that the Go90 app will also include tools to enable users to share content through social media platforms. While Go90 has been designed as a “mobile first” product, Verizon officials are also considering the development of Go90 as a streaming option that would work on television sets. Initially, Go90 will be rolled out on a trial basis to selected Verizon customers before it is extended to the public, perhaps by the end of this month. Declaring, “we really went after ‘millennials’ and ‘Generation Z,’” Brian Angiolet, the senior vice president for consumer products at Verizon, maintained: “if you look at this generation, the first place they go to look for anything is not a network lineup or a channel lineup, it’s the web.”